onetoeight: Australia’s first prime ministers
Visually arresting, humorous and thoughtful, Canberra-based artist Alison Alder reinterprets and reinvigorates portraits of the first eight prime ministers in onetoeight, a contemporary art exhibition. Developed from Alder’s fellowship with the Australian Prime Ministers Centre and motivated by the early period of our nation’s democracy, onetoeight brings these important historical figures a little bit closer to us.
Inspired by a picture of Stanley Bruce’s cabinet where they were all wearing a lapel badge, Alder presents each prime minister wearing at least one badge to reference a key aspect of their time in office. Neither explicitly positive or negative, we are left to form our own opinion.
Through the portraits, intense patterned wallpaper honouring the prime minister’s wives and a Term-O-Meter animation tracking the changing political hues of individuals and governments, Alder gives us a sense of our nation’s history that is lively, dynamic and parallels the present day.